Sunday, February 06, 2011

When Simple Number Sense Escapes Grown-Ups

I've been bothered for years when people mix up "Annual" and "Anniversary", meaning "25th Annual" compared to "25th Anniversary". I'm sure I posted about this on here before. If I haven't, I'm amazed.

But then I was watching this episode of Stargate Atlantis this weekend, where they people in this society the main characters encounter commit suicide the night before they turn 25.

Whatever, that's all well and good and morally questionable and whatnot, but what really got to me was the way they kept talking about it. They kept saying, "On the eve of the start of our twenty-fifth year..."

Um... no. That would be on the eve of the start of your twenty-sixth year, dude. You're in your twenty-fifth year right now.

Let me walk you through it: You turn one after you've been on this planet for how many years? Right: one. So during your first year on this planet, you're how many years old? Correct: less than one year old, or 0 years old.

Then you turn two after you've been on this planet how many years? Correct again: two. So your second year, while you are 1 year old, you're living through your second year.

Now, I hope I'm not jumping too far ahead for you, fictional character on a show that hasn't been on the air for several years, but if you walk through that year by year (if you insist), you'd eventually see that you turn twenty-five after you've been alive for twenty-five years. On your twenty-fifth birthday, you're staring your twenty-sixth year. Get it?

I guess if I really cared, I could see who wrote the episode and have them read this post. More as a punishment than anything else.

In related news, I realized this year I finally have a great example of the whole "anniversary" versus "annual" thing: Superbowl and my age.

The Superbowl is an annual event. My age is a count of the anniversaries of my birth (on the first anniversary of my birth, I turn 1, and so on). The first Superbowl was two weeks before I was born. I'm 44 this year. This year we had Superbowl 45 (I'm avoiding the Roman numerals just to avoid confusion... I know I'm required by law or something to use them here, but get bent). But we arrived on the scene at (roughly) the same time. Anniversary events are always one year behind annual events--at least as far as the numbering goes.

Now, walk away feeling more smarter and stuff, or walk away feeling more confused and stuff. The point is, just walk away.

No comments: